In 2010, after a lengthy fight, Colorado passed a state law that required police officers to inform people of their constitutional right to refuse a search of their person and/or property. The goal of the law was to reduce traffic stops, searches and intimidation stemming from from discrimination.
Law enforcement officers at the time said the legislation threatened their ability to do their jobs. Supporters of the law said it would force police to focus on probable cause and not waste resources on fishing expedition-type searches. The debate drew sharp focus Constitutional protection from unlawful search and seizure and the right to refuse. Continue reading
Tony Sandkamp, owner of Sandkamp Woodworks in New Jersey, is a supporter of paid sick days for workers – because it makes sense for employees, and it makes sense for his company’s bottom line. Sandkamp, a Main Street Alliance leader, recently joined a panel of business leaders at the New York Regional Forum on Working Families, organized by the White House and the Department of Labor.
Part of the discussion focused on paid sick days. While many employees take it for granted that their employer will still pay them if they are forced to stay home sick a few days each year,many more workers are not given the option. If employees don’t come to work, they aren’t paid. Even scarier, if they miss work because of sickness, they risk losing their job.
“It’s ironic that I am advocating for paid sick leave, given that I think the last sick day I personally took was when I broke my leg in the third grade,” said Sandkamp. “When I worked for the airlines back in my twenties, I earned the ‘perfect attendance’ award for three consecutive years.
“But paid sick days just makes common sense – even for me and my small business,” said Sandkamp. Continue reading
By Nicole Brown
Center for Intercultural Organizing
Last week when I received a call from Multnomah County Chair Marissa Madrigal and then from Sheriff Daniel Staton, I wondered if the sheriff might finally be reconsidering his policy on holding immigrants in jail at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
But I never could have anticipated this conversation – or what followed. Continue reading
By Sheena Rice
Montana Organizing Project
It’s no longer shocking to read news articles about the scandalous behavior of big banks. Readers roll their eyes when they see JPMorgan’s CEO being awarded a total pay of $20 million the same year the bank made repeated headlines for being fined millions of dollars and incurring losses of billions of dollars. Stories like these are so common it’s almost boring.
But a jury in Butte, Mont. – population 34,000 – recently decided they weren’t going to tolerate a second set of rules just for banks. They delivered a $52 million verdict against Comerica, another national bank that was also bailed out by the government, and then refused to help a borrower.
The borrower, an office supply company, was essentially destroyed when Comerica reneged on a written forbearance agreement. The company decided to fight, and filed the lawsuit.
By Sheena Rice, Montana Organizing Project. (posted by David Fleishman)
Depending on whom you ask, Baker Montana is either in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of the everything. Although for the answer to be the latter, you would need to be asking someone from Baker. A community of 1,800, Baker is an small rural community in far eastern Montana; 200 miles away from Billings, Rapid City, South Dakota and Bismarck, North Dakota. And it’s an oil town.
Bordering the booming Bakken oil region, and with some of the oldest oil wells in Montana, Baker is a town very familiar with the boom and busts of oil and gas development. Politically, Baker is unmistakably conservative, due in part to the number of residents employed in oil and gas and its isolation from urban centers. It is a community that has to take care of itself, as it tends to be an afterthought in decisions made at the state capitol in Helena (461 miles away).
With this in mind, it would be easy to assume that the community would elect those that fit into the conservative mold and that coddle the oil and gas industry. That’s the problem with assumptions.
Meet Alderman and Montana Organizing Project Board Member, Brandon Schmidt. Continue reading
(Post written by Alain Nahimana, posted online by David Fleishman)
Sharing resources between organizations includes putting people on the ground, side-by-side.
It gave me a sense that whether the work we do is statewide or on a federal level, the challenges we face are the same. My name is Alain Nahimana and I am an organizer with Maine People’s Alliance. A community organizer can work in all environments, not only in his/her community.
I was joined by a MPA member Sonia Irambona and Grady Burns, canvasser. The three of us were set down in some of Virginia’s toughest turf to canvass for immigration reform. Harold Folley of Virginia Organizing even made sure we had the number for the police handy. These were towns considered hostile, right in the middle of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s district. (Virginia’s 7th District) Continue reading
On August 23rd, Alliance affiliate, Indian People’s Action of Montana opened camp for a 3 day Direct Action training camp. Indian People’s Action brought Moccasins On The Ground to Montana. Drawing Native Americans from across the country to defend Mother Earth they trained activists in nonviolent direct action to stop the Keystone Pipeline that the Canadian developer, TransCanada is building to carry crude oil from the Boreal Forests of Albert, Canada across the United States to the Gulf Coast.
Many Native groups believe that the Environmental Impact Study did not adequately consider potential damage to American Indian Tribes and Tribal members in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, whose water aquifers, water ways, cultural sites, agricultural lands, animal life, public drinking water sources and other vital resources could be damaged by the project.
100 trained defenders of Mother Earth and Sacred Waters
A week ago, to the day, the Alliance for A Just Society hosted our 2013 Summer Conference with all our national affiliates (#Justice2013). There was no better way to kick it off than taking close to 200 participants into Washington DC and hosting three separate actions on the Hill.
As of this year, we are proud to note the following states affiliated with the Alliance for a Just Society and Main Street Alliance: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, New York, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Maine, Florida, Colorado and Connecticut.
The morning of July 18 began with The Main Street Alliance hosting a forum on “Too Big To Fail”—addressing the policy conundrum where favors are given to Big Banks at the expense of the common good. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig, economist Simon Johnson, and a panel of small business owners and policy experts each spoke of the need for renewed attention to megabank limits in order to stabilize the financial system and support the Main Street economy. Continue reading
From sharing the perspectives of the children of immigrants to calling out the Speaker of the House for his opposition to a proposed increase of the federal minimum wage, a group of a dozen emerging leaders and organizers from across the country gathered in Seattle last week to learn new ways to tell a story.
How do we want to handle his replacement?
Max Baucus assumed the position of US Senator from Montana on December 15th 1978. For 35 years he has been making decisions that affect the lives of not only people from Montana, not only people from the United States, but people from around the world. The Senator has made many friends, to be clear on this issue he has grown quite influential during his tenure. But he made just as many enemies with his votes. For progressives in Montana, his tenure has been, as they say, a mixed bag.
Now he is leaving the Senate. Continue reading